U.S. stocks mostly rose on Thursday, lifting the S&P 500 to another record, after data had jobless claims falling to a three-month low ahead of Friday's monthly employment report.
U.S., weekly applications for jobless benefits declined to 323,000, the lowest in three months, while new orders for American factory goods fell in January.
"I still view the jobs market as relatively healthy. We'll get an okay jobs number tomorrow. Is it going to meet expectations, I have no idea, but the trend should be roughly in the 100,000 category," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
Stocks retained gains as President Obama held a nationally televised news conference to deliver a statement on Ukraine, saying a proposed Crimea referendum violates international law, and calling on Congress to support the International Monetary Fund's capacity to lend to the nation.
The euro jumped against the dollar after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, with ECB President Mario Draghi indicating the risk of deflation in the euro region had abated as new estimates pointed to inflation nearing targets by the end of 2016.
"One of the interesting reactions is how much you're getting a bounce in the overseas markets, it seems like you're getting in part a relief rally; we haven't had the Ukraine implode yet, so that's s a good thing," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland.
"We either sink or rise based on the global economy as a whole, so keep an eye on all the parts," he added.
"What we really want to see is not more stimulus, but an improving economy both here and overseas," said McCain, who added that the ECB holding pat and deciding no further stimulus was currently needed sent an encouraging message.
Costco Wholesale shares declined after the warehouse club operator reported a 15 percent drop in quarterly profit, trailing analysts' estimates. Shares of Staples fell sharply after the office-supplies chain projected a quarterly drop in sales and said it would shut as many as 225 stores in North America.